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Test confirms first case of chronic wasting disease in Louisiana

(Source: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries)
Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 4:27 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A suspected case of chronic wasting disease discovered in Tensas Parish is now the state’s first confirmed case of the sickness.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the case in a Louisiana white-tailed deer, officials said Friday.

The disease was found in a buck harvested on private land in Tensas Parish.

The confirmation comes the same day as an emergency declaration banning the export and feeding of deer in three northeast Louisiana parishes: Madison, Franklin and Tensas.

“It will take diligence from all parties to help control the spread of CWD in Louisiana; this includes our permitted deer pen licensees,” said Commissioner Mike Strain, of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

The full news release follows:

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) has confirmed a case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a Louisiana white-tailed deer to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

This is the first confirmed case of CWD found in Louisiana. The diagnosis was made on samples submitted by LDWF staff from a hunter-harvested, wild adult buck taken on private land in Tensas Parish. The LDAF regulates alternative livestock in regard to agricultural businesses in Louisiana, which includes farm-raised white-tailed deer.

While the confirmed case was not from a deer pen, the LDAF’s objective is to ensure that alternative livestock in the state are healthy and well-cared for and stay that way.

“The program requires inspection, population control, and record-keeping by the LDAF to ensure the overall health of the deer herd,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.M.V. Additionally, LDAF performs annual inspections of all pens. The inspections are to ensure the pens are in good condition and deemed secure.

“It will take diligence from all parties to help control the spread of CWD in Louisiana; this includes our permitted deer pen licensees,” Strain said.

In light of the confirmed case of CWD, LDAF encourages permitted deer pen licensees to:

  • Maintain and inspect deer herds throughout the year.
  • Maintain and inspect all fencing on a regular basis.
  • Maintain good record-keeping on all pens. This includes electronic implants; permanent ear tattoo and ear tags; the purchase, sale, and transfer of all deer; health certificates issued on each deer; and fencing repairs, replacements, or upgrades.

CWD is a neurodegenerative disease of white-tailed deer and other members of the family Cervidae. It is caused by a prion, an infectious, misfolded protein particle, and is 100-percent fatal in affected deer after an indeterminate incubation period. There is no treatment or preventative vaccine for CWD.

CWD-infected deer may exhibit signs of weight loss and emaciation, salivation, frequent drinking and urination, incoordination, circling, and lack of fear of people. It always results in the death of the animal.

Although CWD has not been shown to be contagious to humans, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend against the human consumption of deer known to be infected with CWD. The LDWF will provide testing for hunter-harvested deer free of charge. For more information on the permitted deer pen license, call the Office of Animal Health at 225-925- 3980.

For more information on CWD, go to https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/cwd.

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